|Flora and fauna on the Cadiz Coast.|
The municipality of Barbate boasts some of the most beautiful beaches on the Costa de la Luz inlcuding los Caños de Meca and Zahara de los Atunes.
The golden sand of Playa de Zahora stretches from Playa del Palmar to the Trafalgar lighthouse at the Cabo Trafalgar. The beach is flat and rocky but protected from the strong winds in this area making it popular with those who enjoy swimming in the sea. The eastern end is very secluded, therefore very popular with naturists. During the summer months there are plenty of facilities including showers and toilets, changing rooms, lifeguards, a red cross post, several restaurants and a few beach bars. The beach is difficult to access by car so it is necessary to leave the car on the road that comes through Zahora.
Caños de Meca
Playa Caños de Meca was named after the local village Caños de Meca, this extremely popular 2.8km length of beach is known for its fine, golden sand and beautiful landscape. Located between the Trafalgar lighthouse and a 100 metre tall cliff, Playa Caños de Meca is backed by the large expanse of pine trees in La Breña Natural Park. There are interesting coves and caves to explore in the cliffs, which provide more seclusion for those who want it. The beach is also known for its winds making it very popular with windsurfers. There are several reefs nearby so it is also possible to go diving here. Although there is no paseo maritimo, the beach is fully-equipped with toilets, showers, changing rooms, flags to signify the state of the sea, lifeguards, around ten restaurants, five chiringuitos and a picnic zone.
Playa de Hierbabuena is a wild beach is located between the cliffs that line the shore of the Barbate pine woods and the Barbate port. With plenty of sand dunes and vegetation, the 900m Playa de Hierbabuena ('Mint Beach') is effectively a continuation of La Breña Natural Park. It is a very quiet beach that is mainly frequented by those who are camping nearby or who want to windsurf and dive. There is also a footpath along the shore that leads visitors to the Torre del Tajo. There is parking (with a small charge) available just next to the A-2233 road with road leading from them to the beach. You can also access it from Barbate port or on one of the urban bus lines. There are no other facilities here.
Playa El Carmen is a beach of fine, golden sand that stretches from the Barbate port, along the front of the town centre and up to where the Rio Barbate meets the sea. It is an urban beach backed by a paseo maritimo and several apartment blocks. There are strong winds here which attract wind surfers. The beach is well-equipped with toilets, showers, changing rooms, lifeguards (during high season) with a tourist information office nearby, as well as restaurants and bars.
Playa Botero, also known as Playa Cañillos and Playa de los Militares, stretches nearly 9km from the Rio Barbate mouth to Playa de Pajares, making it the longest beach in the area. With beautiful surroundings it is the ideal beach to enjoy the sea and take a walk. Like most of the beaches on this coast, Botero beach has fine, golden sand and benefits from strong winds, making it another good windsurfing location. Due to its size there are no facilities here, except rubbish collection.
La Playa de los Militares owes this local name to the occupation by the Spanish ministry of Defense in 1981 when the then president of the government D. Felipe González ordered the expropriation of the land from Barbate, a move opposed by the then mayor of Barbate D. Serafín Núñez.
The beach is almost completely un-spoilt thanks to its proximity to a military zone as many are discouraged by the signs that say 'Military Zone: keep out'. To access the beach, take the A-2231 from which there is a track leading down to the beach and a parking area. Whatever the signs say the beach is actually open the public except on rare occasions when military exercises take place.
Playa de Pajares is another rual beach with fine, golden sand with plenty of wind for water-sports such as windsurfing and sailing. It is the continuation south of Playa Botero. There are no parking or facilities except occasional stopping points on the A-2231 from which there is a track leading down to the beach. There are a couple of small streams that flow from the 'Sierra de Retin' called Arroyo Cachón del Concho and Arroyo de los Pajares. The southern end is Rio Cachón and a road bridge gives access to the village of Zahara de las Atunes. On the beach a sand bank means the river is wide and slow and enters sea underground so you can walk over the water. The name of on the map for this place is Punta de Zahara
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